The Promise of Tomorrow by AnneMarie Brear
Charlotte Brookes flees her lecherous guardian, McBride, taking her younger sister with her. After a year on the road, they stumble into a Yorkshire village. There, they are taken in by the Wheelers, owners of the village shop. This new life is strange for Charlotte, but preferable to living with McBride or surviving on the roads.
Harry Belmont is an important man in the village, but he’s missing something in his life. His budding friendship with Charlotte gives him hope she will feel more for him one day, and he will have the woman he needs.
However, when McBride finds out where Charlotte lives, his threats begin, and Harry takes it upon himself to keep Charlotte safe. Only, World War I erupts and Harry enlists.
Left to face a world of new responsibilities, and Harry’s difficult sister, Charlotte must run the gauntlet of family disputes, McBride’s constant harassment and the possibility of the man she loves being killed.
Do you ever start to read a book, become embroiled in the story, and everything just fades into the background? Well, be prepared for that experience when you read A Promise of Tomorrow!
Charlotte and Hannah had a great start in life with a comfortable life and a family that loved them both. Tragedy steals it all away, and inexplicably they end up with McBride. Yet so quickly, their lives are shattered and become unrecognisable. Between lecherous and greedy men, and those who take care of two girls alone, we travel through the trials and tribulations of their life. Charlotte the older, the worker, taking care and protecting her little sister Hannah, through the safety of their new family, the Wheelers, to finding a man she loves, we are given a great story, with a cast of superbly portrayed characters.
The pace fluctuates between slow, steady and swift. While that sounds like a ‘well, duh’ comment, the author uses the pace to match the action, scenes, and emotions in the story. It is pacy at the start, then slows once the girls are in the safe hands of the Wheelers. It speeds up when McBride re-appears. The author clearly knows that this technique effects the emotional response of the reader – and she gets that response too. Once we reach the heart-ache of the First World War, with its attendant disruption and loss, the tension rises, and the danger heightens, not only because Harry is at the Front, but also because of the danger McBride poses to Charlotte and Hannah. With Harry’s sister thrown into the mix, the situation is worsened.
The author does not baulk from putting our leading ladies are put in uncomfortable and menacing situations. Yet it is through Charlotte’s strength and determination, no matter how nervous or terrified she is, that they come safely through. The war is reflected through both Harry’s and Charlotte’s perspectives. This juxtaposition of the war front and the home front is convincingly written, and the action and drama grab your attention and won’t let go.
AnneMarie Brear writes skilfully and with talent. Her characters are recognisable and familiar, and their experiences shape and mould them throughout the book; they grow as people. No situation feels forces or far-fetched, and when emotions run high it does not feel hysterical. In the end the big question is:
Will Harry make it home to Charlotte?
Nothing is certain in this turbulent but touching and emotional journey, so you will have to read it to find out. I have no hesitation therefore, in recommending The Promise of Tomorrow. It is engaging and sweet, tense and impassioned, and a wonderful sweeping tale set under the cloud of war. So good its on my Books of the Year short-list.
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07GHCXQ8Y/
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07GHCXQ8Y/
Australian born AnneMarie Brear writes historical novels and modern romances and sometimes the odd short story, too. Her passions, apart from writing, are travelling, reading, researching historical eras and looking for inspiration for her next book.
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